The Yankees and Their Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Week

BOSTON — The Yankees’ franchise has been around since 1903, totaling 18,160 regular-season games. And until now, there had never been a week this miserable: 73 runs allowed over the past seven games, the most in any such stretch in franchise history.

There was a familiar formula for the almost daily humiliations, including Saturday’s 9-5 loss to the rival Boston Red Sox: The starting rotation coughed up the bulk of the runs, the bullpen was not able to plug every hole and the offense could rarely come to the rescue.

Throughout his career, C. C. Sabathia has been adept at delivering a solid performance after a loss or in big moments. He was key during the Yankees’ 2009 World Series title and their 2017 playoff run. But even he could not stop the hemorrhaging on Saturday.

Sabathia surrendered too many hard-hit balls, leading to five runs over four and one-third innings. When he departed, the Yankees trailed by 5-3 — still a winnable game for their potent lineup. But reliever Chad Green could not hold down the Red Sox’ powerful offense, and the Yankees, once again, trudged off the field after a third straight loss at Fenway Park.

“It’s frustrating,” Sabathia said. “You want to pitch well. We know we have a good team over here. A great offense. We’ve been the reason why we’ve been losing games. We want to turn that around.”

For a month now, the Yankees’ top decision makers have voiced a need to improve the pitching staff. And with Wednesday’s trade deadline looming, perhaps the Yankees’ biggest weakness, their rotation, has veered completely off the tracks. No regular starter has an E.R.A. under 4.00. The closest is Domingo German, who is slated to start on Sunday, with a 4.03 mark.

The Yankees still maintain a strong grip on the American League East after entering this four-game series against the surging Red Sox with a 10-game lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays. But by Saturday night, the Red Sox had moved into second place and the Yankees’ lead was down to eight.

“Obviously it’s been a tough weekend for us so far,” Manager Aaron Boone said, “but as I say all the time, it’s inevitable you’re going to get punched in the mouth in a major league season and we’ll be up to the challenge.”

Friday’s 10-5 loss to the Red Sox was the sixth straight game in which a Yankees starting pitcher had allowed at least six runs in four innings or fewer. That was the longest such streak by any team in the live-ball era that began in 1920, according to Stats Inc.

Sabathia did not extend that streak, but his inability to complete five innings added to the growing strain on the Yankees’ talented bullpen. The rotation’s E.R.A. over the past week, during which the Yankees went 2-5, was a horrid 16.62, raising its season total to 4.77.

The Yankees did face two of the best offenses in baseball during that stretch: the Red Sox and the power-hitting Minnesota Twins. But Saturday was the seventh straight game a Yankees starting pitcher could not complete five innings. The last time one did was July 20, when Masahiro Tanaka allowed five runs in six innings. Against the Red Sox on Thursday, Tanaka had the worst start of his career, allowing 12 runs.

The pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Boone said they would continue to turn over every stone to figure out what had plagued each starting pitcher.

“It’s been really tough,” Rothschild said. “It’s been tough on them, tough on the team. But it’s my responsibility to get it right.”

During the first few innings on Saturday, the Yankees kept the game close. Third baseman Gio Urshela, who homered earlier in the game off Eduardo Rodriguez, the Red Sox’ starter, gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead with a fourth-inning single.

That was erased in the bottom of the inning when J. D. Martinez slammed a go-ahead two-run blast off Sabathia to commence the Red Sox’ slugging onslaught. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts’s run-scoring double in the fifth inning gave the Red Sox a 5-3 lead and chased Sabathia from the game. They piled three runs on Green in the sixth inning.

Perhaps the Yankees felt the absence of perhaps their most valuable player this season, infielder D. J. LeMahieu. A magnetic resonance imaging test on Saturday revealed a low-grade groin strain, which he sustained during Friday’s game, Boone said.

LeMahieu said he felt better on Saturday, and he and Boone said they hoped he could avoid the injured list. The Yankees have had 23 players on the injured list this season. They surely did not want LeMahieu joining their catalog of concerns, most of which revolved around their sputtering pitching staff.

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